Philly, Be Patient With Chip Kelly
By Scott Daniels
OTAs are underway, and Eagles camp is more uneventful than a history lecture (it’s not just in Philly). The biggest story in the NFL right now is that they moved the date of the NFL draft for next year. Really? The draft can be exciting and all, but who really cares when it takes place?
It’s no surprise that things are relatively quiet in the NFL right now. After all, training camp doesn’t start until the summer, and the biggest stories heading into the season usually revolve around guys holding out. Well, I think it’s fair to say that the Eagles won’t have too much of that this season. Michael Vick is locked into a one-year deal, and he basically has 16 games to prove his critics wrong. DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy were both locked up last year with five year deals and, frankly, no one else is significant enough to hold out.
That’s why it’s a perfect time to make a plea to the Philadelphia fan-base. Impatience is part of an Eagles fan’s life; a Birds win is more of a quick fix until the Eagles fan craves more. My plea is simple: just like John Lennon urged people to give peace a chance, I’m urging Eagles fans to give Chip Kelly a chance.
Kelly has yet to make his debut in the NFL. Will he succeed? No one knows. The transition from college to the pros is no easy trek. Some have chased the money into the NFL and failed miserably. Kelly is not only making the switch from college to the pros, but he’s implementing new systems on both sides of the ball.
There’s a chance that Kelly and the Eagles could have a horrific 2013 season. But this season should not define Kelly’s tenure with the Birds. Eagles fans should not call for his firing until he has a legitimate chance to implement his game plan with the personnel he chooses. That means he should be given at least three seasons to turn around a historically proud franchise.
The best case scenario is that Kelly leads this Eagles team to an NFC East title and automatic playoff berth. If he can do this, he’ll be playing with house money. Their success in the postseason will be virtually irrelevant since making the playoffs after a two year hiatus will be a major victory.
The worst case scenario is another brutal season filled with losses, injuries and frustration. There’s a lot of hype surrounding Kelly right now, and that’s not necessarily a good thing. Hype leads to expectations; expectations lead to disappointment when a favorable result is not achieved.
Hopefully, Kelly will have an ample opportunity to succeed with the Eagles. He may not succeed right away, but Eagles fans need to exercise patience. Failure typically precedes success, and Kelly could be headed in that direction. The danger, however, is that in the NFL, failure is only tolerated for so long.